UCC leaders to speak against re-militarization of Japan

Called to speak out against the re-arming of the Japanese military, and the importance of recognizing human rights, the Rev. James Moos and the Rev. Xiaoling Zhu are representing the United Church of Christ and Global Ministries at an international conference aimed at building peace between nations, and between humans.

Moos, executive minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries, and Zhu, Global Ministries area executive for East Asia and the Pacific, are in Japan attending the National Christian Council-Japan Global Interreligious Conference on Article 9, held Dec. 2-5 in Tokyo.

The focus of the Interfaith International Conference is Article 9, a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war. When the Japanese Constitution was ratified in 1947, shortly after World War II, Japan formally renounced war as a sovereign right, and prohibited the settlement of international disputes through the use of force.

“We are concerned with the armament of an offensive force, and its effect on peace, in the Pacific region because it could escalate any instability,” Moos said. “We believe Japan should have a defensive presence, but any expansion of that force, we oppose because it could create a volatile situation in that part of the world.”

The conference will also encourage attendees to work toward solidarity, taking a proactive approach as a faith-based community in building peace and justice in the world. Previous conferences on Article 9 have made declarations about reducing the military presence in Japan, along with statements for a nuclear-free world.

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Moos is speaking about human rights a week ahead of Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, at Kwansei Gakuin University—a private coed Christian University with almost 20,000 students. Moos will keynote the university’s commemoration of Human Rights Day.

“Many constitutions around the world, ours and Japan’s included, recognize and embrace the importance of human rights,” Moos said. “But are we good about recognizing the ‘human’ part of the those rights? We see people on the margins of society in most corners of the world, so I will speak about the need to recognize and welcome all people, because all people bear the likeness of a loving God.”

Read more of Moos’ thoughts on Human Rights in this recent Witness For Justice commentary.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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